Follow these 5 tips for photographing cold treats and get the perfect shot every time. 

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And just like that we are smack dab in the middle of frozen treat season! Coming to the blog all next month I’m bringing you four (yes, FOUR!) all new ice cream cookie sandwich recipes guaranteed to bring some major cold treat deliciousness to your sum-sum-summatime. I’m keeping the flavors under wraps for now but trust me when I say your sweet tooth will swoon over these crazy good ice cream sammie flavors that are sure to help you beat the heat all summer long.

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There’s something for everyone….we’ve got chocolate lover’s favorites, fun and fruity concoctions and even a dash of salt to balance the sweet. I’m bringing you no churn, slow churn, classic favorites and fancy flavors too. Stay tuned right here all month and I suggest you make some space in your freezer {wink, wink}.

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In the meantime, if you are a blogger or food photographer {or just love taking pics of your favorite foods}, stay right here and read up on my 5 Tips for Photographing Cold Treats. Let’s face it…frozen desserts are the king of content this time of year. I’ll be using every one of these tips to shoot my ice cream cookie sandwiches during one of the hottest months of the year. Photographing frozen treats is bound to be a bit melty and a lot messy, but it’s definitely possible to get that “hero” shot every time using the following tips and tricks.

5 Tips for Photographing Cold Treats


Before you even think about cracking open the freezer, be sure to crank the A/C on high and set up the shot first. A little prep work goes a long way when it comes to shooting the cold stuff. You’ll want to arrange your backdrops, adjust the lighting and set up the composition so it’s ready for the hero to make an entrance. The hero is the star of the show and you’ll want to be sure to have the stage set in advance. Also be sure to have any props you may want to use handy so you can easily access them in a hurry if you decide to switch up your composition on the fly. Don’t forget a roll of paper towels to quickly wipe up drips and spills…you’re going to need ‘em.

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Try as you might, ice cream was made to melt so don’t let it make you loose your cool. Any frozen treat being photographed on an 80 degree day is bound to turn into a melty mess eventually but there are several tricks to keep in mind that will help delay the inevitable.

First, scoop and freeze your ice cream in advance. I usually soften my ice cream slightly and use a large cookie scoop to create perfectly uniform scoops and then re-freeze them on a chilled cookie sheet for several hours or even overnight. For perfect ice cream sandwiches, soften the ice cream slightly before spreading it evenly in a 9 x 9 inch cake pan. After re-freezing, use a cookie cutter just barely smaller than the size of the cookies to cut out the ice cream circles. Place between two cookies to form a sandwich and freeze again.

Next, always chill any and all props and containers well in advance. That includes scoops, spoons, pans and bowls and anything else you use in your shoot. The colder you can keep these items that come in contact with your frozen dessert, the longer you’ll avoid full melt down mode.

If possible, freeze the hero item in the same container such as a loaf pan or pie tin you plan to photograph it in. For popsicles, display them on a cookie sheet filled with ice cubes or stacked on a plate straight from the freezer. Placing a small marble slab in the freezer with your cold treat ready to go is another pro-tip for keeping things on the chilly side.

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Whenever you are photographing cold treats, be sure to make a double batch in case your first attempt to get that perfect shot doesn’t go as planned. If your first hero turns into a melty, drippy mess you’ll be glad you have back ups stashed in the freezer. Worst case scenario, you have extra frozen desserts to enjoy at your next pool party. Winning!!

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This saying holds true for any food photography photo shoot really, but applies especially for frozen desserts of all kinds. Be on our toes and prepared to work quickly. And always think like a Girl Scout and be ready for Plan B. When your hero is having a melt down, take a time out to pop it back in the freezer to chill. Sub in another back up treat or resume your shoot after your hero has had a chance to refreeze. Also try shooting your frozen dessert from a different angle so you can capture the area that isn’t a melty mess. And if the mess has reached a point of no return….skip to step number five.


At some point your pretty little ice cream scoops or perfectly molded popsicles will start to melt and the time will come to let the process happen as it may. Just as I love a good bite shot, I enjoy finding the beauty in the drips and drizzles. Some of my favorite shots come from the end of a photo shoot when I just make time to play with the subject and make a mess with the food…a beautiful mess that is.

My favorite photos are those that looked “lived in” and drippy. Melty ice cream is the perfect way to capture that very mood. Try waiting it out while the ice cream melts just perfectly and shoot your subject from different angles and at different aperatures to get that stellar shot.

I hope these 5 Tips to Photograph Cold Treats leaves you feeling more confident to weather the elements to get that perfect shot of your favorite frozen treat. Feel free to comment below if you have more helpful tried and true tips for successfully photographing frozen desserts. I’d love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog at the top of the homepage to be sure you receive all four of my brand new ice cream cookie sandwich recipes coming this summer! And be sure to follow @brownedbutterblondie on Instagram for all the latest and greatest recipe news and updates.




  • Reply
    August 9, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Love this article!! It was so helpful. I was having a lot of trouble shooting ice cream sandwiches, so I turned to Google and this came up. I froze the ice cream in a loaf tin, cut it out using a glass, then refroze it, just like Heather suggests. I took the additional step of adding a circle of parchment paper to the top and bottom of the disc so I could easily roll it in mini chocolate chips then refroze it again. I placed the disc between two cookies with the parchment paper still on because I didn’t want to get any ice cream on the cookies. I just wanted a really clean look and for all the chocolate chips to stay in place. So happy with the end result. Thank you so much!!

  • Reply
    Kasey Goins
    July 5, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks SO much for posting this! I’ve done a few ice cream recipes and am always majorly stressed & anxious when it comes time to shoot them! I never planned on having a backup, so I love that idea!! brilliant piece!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      July 17, 2019 at 7:22 am

      Thanks Kasey!So glad you found a helpful tip or two!!

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